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November 2017

Fountaineers will be at the Holiday Park and Resort Innovation 2017 exhibition at the Birmingham NEC on November 8th and 9th, come along and meet us, we look forward to seeing you.

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Irrigation Systems

Fountaineers Ltd has gained experience in installing Street scene irrigation systems, and now offers in house knowledge to clients landscape architects and city planners enabling discreet irrigation installations to be incorporated in project designs.

Landscape irrigation systems provide water to plants in a timely manner, speeding up establishment and providing mature looking landscapes more quickly. Landscape irrigation reduces plant losses and helps plants cope with difficult conditions, especially in hostile environments such as town centres and green roofs. Modern landscape irrigation systems are also designed to minimise water wastage and can be coupled with rain water harvesting systems to maximise their green credentials.

Although the need for landscaped irrigation is most acute during dry weather, especially during the height of summer, this is not the only time landscape irrigation is used. During the planting and establishment phase, new plants have to cope with high levels of stress. The cost of specimens may run into tens of thousands of pounds, so it makes sense to protect them with a properly designed landscape irrigation system. If thought of as an insurance policy, landscape irrigation is excellent value, but what other insurance policy actually enhances the items it is protecting? Time after time, clients comment on the speed at which the planting matures – far faster than in systems without landscape irrigation.

Once the establishment phase is complete, landscape irrigation provides an ongoing service, helping plants recover from human traffic and assisting planting in difficult environments. In hot dry spells, the landscape irrigation will prevent lasting damage occurring to the planting. Although lawns may die back and recover, planted borders often do not – but a landscape irrigation system will keep these plants alive, using ultra efficient drip irrigation.

Tree irrigation

For trees, transplanting is a highly stressful experience, especially if they are placed in hostile environments such as town centre planting schemes. In addition, even a modestly sized tree requires a large amount of water. A tree irrigation system will ensure that the tree receives water, and if necessary nutrients, during the critical establishment phase. For trees planted in tree pits, the irrigation can provide a continuing source of water, allowing the tree to thrive.

Drip watering for trees

Using drip lines for tree irrigation can provide the required amount of water over a much longer time period than hand watering. By watering the trees over a longer time frame the output of the tree irrigation can be kept low - ensuring the water is readily absorbed into the root ball.

When trees are placed in their own tree pit, a supply pipe will bring the water supply to each pit. A ring of Permadrip drip line is then wrapped around the base of the tree. Larger trees have longer lengths of drip pipe containing more drippers, allowing smaller and larger trees to be watered in the same irrigation zone.

Drip irrigation for hedges

Hedges are normally constructed to provide a screen, so it is important to ensure that these establish as quickly as possible. A drip line is normally laid in a single run down the length of the hedge, although for larger hedges one line of drip irrigation can be laid down each side of the hedge.

The water supply for the hedge irrigation system can either be provided using an underground supply pipe.

Vertical Green Walls

Vertical green walls have many of the benefits of green roof structures, but with the advantage that there are many more vertical spaces that can be covered, and they are generally more visible, enhancing the environment for more people.

Green walls can be divided into two broad categories: 'natural' and 'artificial'. Natural green walls use plants that would naturally climb, such as Virginia creeper or climbers. Trellis or wires can be used to assist the plants to cover the walls. Irrigation is desirable but not essential. Generally a drip irrigation system at the root zone will speed up coverage of the wall and reduce growth problems during drought.

For artificial green walls, irrigation is essential, as is a method of supplying nutrients. Artificial systems generally have the root zones packed into frameworks hung onto the wall, with little chance of the plants obtaining a natural source of water. For these systems, irrigation and nutrients must be supplied using drip pipes built into the structure.

Control systems need to take account of the changing weather conditions, as water requirements will vary enormously depending on aspect and weather.

It is vitally important that the irrigation system is an integral part of the design, not an afterthought.

Multi zone control

Different areas will need separate control to ensure each planting type receives the correct amount of water. Borders can be watered every couple of days, whereas planters will require water several times a day.

Zoning of the irrigation also helps ensure that irrigation does not exceed the available water. A large lawn, for example, could be watered as one zone, but would need large diameter pipes and a very high flow of water. By dividing the lawn into several zones, pipe sizes and water requirements are kept more manageable.